Last night, with the Bruins falling to the Leafs in the game and the series, the post-game interviews were mostly about one thing: the goal review.
In the third period, Auston Matthews scored on a fabulous pass from Jake Muzzin, and this is what it looked like:
The NHL explanation of their decision to not overturn the call on the ice is:
Not sure if I’ve ever seen the rationale from the ruling underlined before. pic.twitter.com/I3srAThOWM— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 20, 2019
My take on this is that the league is saying that in the playoffs, the call on the ice stands unless they are absolutely sure that call was wrong. This is a different standard of doubt of the referees and certainty of their own view of things than you get in the regular season. In my opinion, this should be how it’s always decided. The referee has to be out and out wrong. If it’s grey, then you go with what they said. Otherwise, why have a referee make a call at all?
Everyone was asked about this post-game.
The second theme of these conversations is revealed here, as the first question is about the defensive effort of the team which he talks about a lot. On the review, Babcock simply says, “You never know.”
Other interesting bits are his admission that the Leafs likely didn’t belong in the playoffs two years ago vs Washington. He also said the ice was a bit rough from the humidity in the arena. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been in Toronto.
Babcock gives a stirring review of Auston Matthews and Kasperi Kapanen and how they performed, but later on, he refuses to give too much credit to Frederik Andersen, considering the fairly easy game the Leafs gave him. Babcock doesn’t dish out fake praise very much.
He also says the hardest game to win is the fourth game, but getting to this point is part of the “process of growing the group”.
Auston Matthews says he didn’t watch the replay of his goal during the review, and we could see him on the bench with his head down. It was out of his control, and he had no idea if it would count or not.
Matthews thinks his line, and the defenders, communicated well, broke out well and had a good game. Which they sure did. He agrees that in Sunday’s game the Leafs have to play as well or better.
I like listening to Matthews, even though he is very careful most of the time about what he says.
When asked about his feelings during the goal review, he says he was just praying. Kapanen is a good speaker and well worth listening to. When he talks about Jake Muzzin “switching the dad-mode off” I’m reminded that he played a season on the same team as his father. Sometimes on the same line. He got to see dad-mode switched off up close and personal.
Jake Muzzin has some advice: don’t have a baby in the playoffs. It’s amazing to see how spun he looks, totally tired, used up, and his explanation that he decided to simplify his game a little for this one makes sense. He was also just hoping on that goal review.
Muzzin talks about how the PK needed a bounce-back performance, and they certainly did that.
“Total team victory”, “Guys were battling”, “We wanted this one.” This is Mike Babcock without the Saskatchewan twang. Everything Zach Hyman says is straight out of the Babcock cliché and homily handbook. The thing is, I think he means it.
Hyman also had no idea on that goal. He says he knows he bumped into Tuukka Rask, but he never watched the replay. He also agrees with Muzzin that the PK rebound was necessary and important.
William Nylander is not like the others. He not only watched that goal replay, he was totally confident the goal would count. This is met by incredulity from the press, but he’s not backing down. Nylander is unafraid of your incomprehensible rules, NHL, and he thought that goal should not be called back.
He also talks about matching up to David Krejci’s line and their success at staying in the offensive zone against them. The numbers say he played that line even on the night, which is part of why the Leafs succeeded.
Zach Hyman describes the identity of the Leafs as a team that wants to avoid having to defend by maintaining offensive zone pressure, and this is something the third line has been doing all year, no matter who is the centre. They don’t get points. That’s frustrating to watch, but they have effectively cut off their opponents’ secondary scoring chances by controlling the puck. I bet Frederik Andersen likes the Leafs third line better than most fans.
Game Six is Sunday at 3 p.m. in Toronto.